I’m overdue a post on coding and why, for me, it’s one of the most amazing things you can spend your time doing. I just wanted to get this one out first though. This is quite a personal post but I think it’ll resonate with at least a few people who read it.

For me, one of the big challenges in anyone’s life is the challenge of unlocking themselves. It’s certainly felt that way for me at times.

Why would you want to?

Well, because you don’t really come close to a. knowing yourself or b. even being able to fulfil your potential, let alone actually do it, until you have.

I don’t think of it like a door, with a lock and a key. I think of it like a combination lock — you know, the ones where you’ve got to spin 4 dials (each with numbers 0–9) until you’ve opened it.key.jpg

The way I see it is that everybody is like one of these combination locks, but all the combination locks are very different. Some are easy to unlock, and by extension some people almost seem like they were born unlocked. Some of the locks have lots of numbers you need to find, and they’re much harder to open.

FWIW, the dials on my newly-opened lock correspond to:

  • 8 people who’ve believed in me over a long period of time, including family.

  • 3 people giving me 5 minutes of their time and that meaning an incredible amount to me.

  • Finding real beauty in code.

  • Finding real fulfilment in teaching.

  • 3 people who’ve snubbed me where I’ve thought, right, I’m really going to show you what I’m capable of.

  • Realising that some of my experiences, and the lessons from them, are actually incredibly transferable after all.

  • Feeling so happy about being back ‘home’.

  • Inner anger about the state of education and how it’s failing young people and businesses alike.

  • A clear vision about how it could be so much better, very much inspired by the way one man in San Francisco teaches his students

  • Realising I can help our students not make some pretty basic life mistakes that I’ve made.

  • My co-founder, and enjoying the ups and downs of all this with him.

  • My girlfriend.

  • My son.

Quite a few dials right? I’ve taken some unlocking :)

It might just look like a list of things that have motivated me, but I really believe it’s more than that.

This is the combination of things I feel have unlocked me. Many of the things that have motivated me in the past aren’t there. They turned out not to be important.

A major part of the Northcoders ethos is helping our students learn how to spin those dials and unlock themselves. Every lock is unlockable. Once you’re unlocked, everything is different.

If you’re not unlocked already, you’ll never be unless you spin the dials.

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Steven, my dog, deserves special mention, whilst not quite making the cut to be a dial on my lock. He’ll get over it once I give him a Peperami wide boy.

James, Co-Founder, Northcoders